When thinking of Salt Lake City, what typically pops into your mind? The 2002 Olympics? Great big salty… lakes? At any rate, punk rock wasn’t my first thought (and it probably isn’t yours either)… That may change, however, with a listen to the new album from Restroyer. The SLC-based quartet specializes in the punk rock that you may remember from the late nineties or mid-aughts – think a mixture of the political approach of Anti-Flag, the upbeat skate punk of Lagwagon, and a bit of grizzled Rancid energy. It’s tied up in an aggressive but digestible ten-song package that highlights its crusty punk rock roots without sacrificing a studio quality that begs for repeat listening.

The album opens with the upbeat power chord onslaught of “Rager.” Immediately, Restroyer. hits you with the hallmarks of their sound – chunky power chord buzz, octave-based guitar leads, huge percussion and bass presence, and gravel-voiced vocals delivered with the perfect intensity. When a spicy guitar solo kicks in around the two-minute mark, you know this album is going to be stuffed with full-power punk rock, tailor-made for any of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater soundtracks – let’s just say it’s very fitting to call this one “Rager.” They keep up this energy on song two, “Exact Same Robot.” With its wailing guitar lead intro and tasty call-and-response vocals and harmonies, Restroyer. keep the energy high and the vibes angry, just like any good punk band should.

Stabbing guitars on the ska-punk influenced “Whose Kidneys Are These?” kick off another album highlight, bringing to mind the aforementioned Rancid or even Sublime. Before long, Restroyer. are back to their blistering punk roots, launching into an angry rally cry of a chorus:

“I’m starting to think that we’re the cause of our own sickness, I’m starting to think that we’re just waiting for the right time to strike, and all along we’ve kept on waiting for an opportunity to fight.”

Whether you’re rebelling against the government, other people, or yourself, the spirit of punk lies in angsty mantras like these. Regardless of whatever flavor of punk they’re channeling at any time, Restroyer.’s roots always ultimately lie in the spirit rebellion.

“These Machines” takes a different approach, opening with a winding rock ‘n rolling riff. They never completely stray from punk rock (see the rowdy gang vocals peppered throughout the song), but it’s a refreshing change to get a bit of sweaty bar rock in between the onslaught of punk rock grime.

Taking a cue from Blink-182 (“Aliens Exist”) “Fermi Paradox” takes its name from an actual paradox – the disparity between the lack of evidence of aliens and the high likelihood of their existence. Whether you take this at face value or as an extended metaphor for looking for a long lost love is up to you, but when the simple chorus of “Are you out there?” hits, it feels surprisingly heartfelt nestled in between the rest of their political and sociological ranting.

At ten songs in length, there’s lots more to enjoy on Restroyer. A few more standout moments include the blistering intro of “Vultures,” the early Alkaline Trio-esque brooding on “Wrong Key,” and the pounding skate punk intensity of closer “Die of the Tiger.”

Check out lead single “Whose Kidneys Are These?” via the YouTube embed below, or, find the entirety of Restroyer. on Spotify. All the other ways to listen to Restroyer. can be found via this helpful link.

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